Retrofit Regeneration

emily martin

How can existing housing be revitalised for thermal and environmental performance within a New Zealand context to mitigate occupant displacement?

Just as wrapping up in a blanket is just the solution to warm up on a cold night, why not treat housing in the same way? Retrofit Regeneration is a design strategy for a thermal blanket revitalisation to existing housing. To create warmer, drier, healthier homes without having to leave home in the process. The design-led research aims to explore a design strategy for a thermal blanket revitalisation to existing homes. A thermal and environmental performance retrofit within the New Zealand context. For many New Zealander’s, inefficient housing is poorly affecting the health and well-being of occupants. Preventable health issues place pressure on healthcare systems, costing valuable resources. The climate, housing, and healthcare crisis desperately require improvements to existing housing conditions for warmer, healthier, and happier homes. New Zealand is currently inefficiently designing for the climate. Additionally, careful use and preservation of precious resources are crucial as emphasised by COVID-19. The global pause shifted the attention of the environmental and economic climate. Further opening the opportunity to reconsider the global dependence on finite resources. In order to reach New Zealand’s obligated 2050 climate goals, the 40% carbon emissions by the construction industry needs desperate attention. Net-zero carbon housing must be achieved. Therefore, it is fundamental to use the opportunity to improve the existing housing stock, as a readily available resource. To demolish and rebuild further adds to the significant waste issue and requires displacing people from their homes and communities. Subsequently increasing the demand for housing and resources while waiting out the lengthy rebuild process. A strategic approach to retrofit the existing housing stock proposes a design response with the ability to improve the efficiency, health, and comfort for occupants. The 1940’s-60’s State House is the site for design investigation, as a common poor condition housing typology in New Zealand. Sustainable design approaches and case studies inform a framework to drive the design process. The research will result in an external wall and roof design strategy to ensure occupants can remain in their homes throughout improvements.

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